Starting a record label is something that we’ve come to expect every MC worth their mic cord to do. Hell, along side a clothing line, liquor brand and an arrest record, it damn near comes in the first world rapper starter kit. While plenty of artists spend their whole career trying to get to the level where a major will let them live off their own name, that’s not quite the case for one Brian Carenard aka Saigon. Since his release from prison in 2000 (he served time for an assault charge), the Brooklyn native has done it all from landing Unsigned Hype in The Source Magazine to signing to super producer Just Blaze via Atlantic Records.
Despite releasing multiple mixtapes and singles with the likes of Swizz Beatz and Jay-Z, push-backs and politics put his debut “The Greatest Story Never Told” in label limbo. So Saigon turned his hustle to television landing reoccurring roles on the HBO hit series “Entourage” and more recently “Love & Hip-Hop NY.”
After finally dropping “Greatest…” in 2011 and its sequel “Bread and Circuses” in 2012, Saigon is now launching his own label “Hip-Hop My Way” and website, HipHopMyWay.com. Saigon looks to develop a multi-tiered entertainment venture with powerhouse tech company CPXi and create the kinds of culture-positive records he’s always wanted to make. But is he ready to deal with the not so positive feedback from his stint on reality TV? TheUrbanDaily finds out.
TUD: Lets jump right in and talk about this label situation.
Saigon: Yeah man, I’m doing something real, real special man. I’ve been just waiting for this opportunity pretty much my whole life. So I finally got it, finally in the drivers seat, you know? I’m calling the shots and things are looking up.
So what can the fans expect and look forward to from a Saigon run label?
And website. HipHopMyWay.com That’s another part, an offshoot of the label. We’ll be getting to that. You can look for authenticity man, we not trying to do what everybody else is out here doing. I think everybody else has gone so far left that they forgot all about right. So right now, we real right, we’re keeping it right. We’re keeping it to the true principles of Hip-Hop. Like my man Black Thought said on “What They Do”; “they’ve been forsaken. It’s all bout contractual and about money making”? Nah, we right here. I mean, everybody wanna eat but this is more based on artistic expression, social commentary and you know, things our children need. You know? Going up against the BS that’s out there. The righteous used to be popular and mainstream. That’s what I want to get it back to, when KRS and P.E. and Poor Righteous Teachers and X-Clan, when they was at the forefront. You had the clown rap, you had the other shit but party-time was secondary. First it was get your brain first and then party afterwards. Now it’s been reversed. Its party, party, party, party and whatever happens from there happens. Everybody likes to have a good time but you gotta handle business before you can be out there partying and shit like that. And at the same time, it gotta be dope music! Like, lets not just say it’s conscious… it’s hot! It’s good, good, good music that has something you can take from it besides drinking, smoking, f*cking and such. (Laughs)
So your label is meant to add on as opposed to take away. Correct?
Exactly… just to offer some balance, you know? The beauty of it is, we’re partnering with one of the biggest on-line advertising agencies in the world. So we’re gonna get a shot to get the music out there. It ain’t like we’re in a situation where there are excuses like “Oh, we can’t… they not f*cking with us because…” nah. We have our own platform, which is the Internet, and my business partner is pretty much in control with how you connect the consumers with the product virally. They’re the best at it so it’s a beautiful situation. And with music going digital, the timing is perfect. It’s just God, God is working. He knows I got a message to give out that’s positive and he’s working, he’s doing it for me.
How did this deal come about?
The CEO and Chairman of the company, my business partner. We’ve been friends for about 7, 8 years but never really did no business but we met while I was doing “Entourage” and became cool. I watched him grow his business. He always knew I wanted to do more than just be a rapper in the business but the timing wasn’t right. So when it came around for me to get out of all my contracts… cause I was stuck on Atlantic for 6 years, then I did little indie deals that weren’t right. So when I got out of all my contracts I had an idea for HipHopMyWay.com, which was the site and then the site grew into the label. And so we just decided to partner up and do both of them. Like I said, God is amazing.
What’s the plan to get the positive message back to the forefront to where it’s not just popular but also profitable for you as a business?
I think you gotta attack the fans cause the fans are the ones that make the bullsh*t work. Cause if they weren’t buying into the bullsh*t, people wouldn’t make it. So I think we gotta let them hold some responsibility as well cause it’s easy to point fingers at the artists and say “Yo, he’s making that bullsh*t!” but the artists is just playing supply and demand as along as the people want that dumb sh*t. So we gotta hold them responsible, like when are y’all gonna up y’all level of awareness and say “Hey, I won’t support that ignorance. I won’t condone that because we’re grown.” They try to market Hip-hop to children but there are a lot of adults I see feeding into the dumb sh*t. That’s why I can’t even really do nightclubs. I understand why a 21 year old would be in the club. But when I see kids 30 in the nightclub with the 21 year olds, I gotta question that. Where are your values? Where are your priorities at if you’re 35 years old and in the club three or four nights a week? Nas made a song called “2nd Childhood” back in the day, and I think more and more of our people are stuck n their second or third childhood and we gotta just wake them up and make them realize that we are the examples for the youth. That we have to lead by example and whether we like it or not, we have that responsibility.
SO WHY DID HE DO REALITY TELEVISION IF HE’s PUSHING POSITIVITY?? CLICK TO READ ON…